- OakNorth is delighted to be the first challenger bank to sign up to the British Business Bank’s Help to Grow programme;
- Help to Grow supports lenders in providing debt finance of up to £2m to fast-growth businesses across all sectors;
Eligible fast-growth businesses will be able to benefit from lower interest rates.
OakNorth – the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs – has become the first challenger bank to partner with the British Business Bank in its Help to Grow programme, which is expected to support up to £1bn of lending to fast-growth businesses by 2020.
Under the Help to Grow programme, fast-growth SMEs can take out a loan of up to £2m to support the development of new products and processes, invest in research and innovation, and target new export markets. The lending is available to businesses across all sectors, but innovative businesses in the manufacturing, creative industries and technology sectors are expected to benefit most.
OakNorth, which typically lends between £1m and £20m to fast-growth businesses and entrepreneurs, launched in September 2015 and has since grown its loan book to around £300m with a further £500m in the pipeline for 2017. Its clients include restaurants, bars, hotels, nurseries, co-working and co-living companies, care homes, law firms, property developers, media, tech and security businesses.
Rishi Khosla, CEO and co-founder of OakNorth, commented: "Since launching, we have been committed to helping businesses achieve their growth ambitions – joining Help to Grow will provide us with an additional platform in which to do this.
"One of the key challenges facing entrepreneurs and business owners in the UK is securing debt finance, especially once they’ve moved beyond the start-up phase and are making a profit and looking to grow. This is an opportunity to change that and ensure that entrepreneurs are able to secure growth capital throughout every phase of the business journey. We’re very excited to be the first challenger bank to join the programme and are already in conversation with a number of eligible businesses who may be able to benefit."
Judith Hartley, British Business Bank’s Managing Director for Lending Solutions, said: "At the British Business Bank, one of our principal objectives is to increase the diversity of funding options available to growing UK businesses. Supporting new entrants to the SME finance market and innovative forms of lending are of key importance to us in achieving that aim. We are therefore delighted to welcome OakNorth Bank as a new partner in our Help to Grow programme."